Newsletter : 7fax0626.txt
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>JN June 26, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 115
Holocaust Victims Won't Get Looted Nazi Gold
European central banks, not individual Holocaust victims, will
get the last of the Nazi gold still resting in Western vaults,
officials said. But individual countries could use it to compensate
victims to show their concern that gold from death camp prisoners
may have been mixed in with the Nazis' World War 2 loot. Ten
countries -- Albania, Austria, Belgium, the former Czechoslovakia,
Luxembourg, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and former
Yugoslavia -- have claims on the gold, which is being held by the
Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve.
ADL Doesn't Agree with Death Camp Protester
By Michael Leland (VOA-Chicago)
More than 50 years after the last Nazi concentration camp closed in
Europe, an American man says the camps should be maintained as
sacred sites to honor the millions killed during the Holocaust.
Robert Kunst of Florida says some of the former camps have become
commercial or recreational areas, which he says trivializes what
happened there in the 1930s and '40s. Kunst recently took his
campaign to Chicago.
Kunst hangs a banner in front of the Polish Consulate along
Chicago's Lake Shore Drive. It calls on Poland to give or sell the
former Nazi camp sites to Jewish organizations, which he says could
properly honor those killed inside the camp walls.
"This is an incredible outrage. For example, 4 million people were
murdered at Auschwitz/Birkenau, 97-percent of them Jewish and here
you have crosses on the gas chambers, people fishing in the pond
where they threw the ashes from Crematorium 5, people picnicking,
everything is a big party, a great social."
Kuntz's demonstration is small -- two assistants help him hold
signs that say Poland should not be allowed to join NATO until it
turns the camps over. Few people stop to read the signs, but he
will tell anyone who does how he thinks the camps should be
maintained as sacred sites.
Poland will be officially invited to join NATO in July, when the
organization's ministers meet in Madrid. Kunst is also targeting
Germany in his campaign. He is upset Germany allowed a McDonald's
restaurant to open just a few blocks away from the former Dachau
camp. Kunst says the UN Security Council should not consider
offering Germany a permanent seat until it turns over former Nazi
camps within its borders.
A spokesman for the Polish Embassy in Washington says Warsaw is
sensitive to Jewish concerns about the former camps. The spokesman
says the government has met repeatedly over the years with Jewish
organizations to discuss how the camps and the areas around them
should be maintained or developed. The Chicago office of the
Anti-Defamation League says it understands Kuntz's campaign, but
adds that he does not speak for the international Jewish
Wiesenthal Center Holds Nazi Gold News Conference
By Lisa Schlein (VOA Geneva)
In Geneva, an international conference organized by the Los
Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center has called on countries which
allegedly profited from looted Nazi gold and other valuables to
make amends to the survivors of the Holocaust. Participants at the
conference appealed to countries in question to live up to their
The Wiesenthal Center says the conference was meant neither to
absolve nor to denounce the Swiss, in particular, for their wartime
activities. Conference officials say there's a lot of blame to go
Wiesenthal Center Director Rabbi Marvin Hier says it's unfair to
put pressure on the Swiss government to meet its financial and
moral obligations toward Holocaust victims -- not, he says,
without acknowledging that other countries -- such as Sweden and
Argentina -- also collaborated with Nazi Germany.
The center recently gave the Swiss government a list of 334 senior
Nazi officials believed to have opened secret bank accounts in the
country. The center is convinced the Nazi money trail will
eventually lead to other countries. But, for the investigation to
go forward, the center needs to obtain documents which remain
hidden in the archives of several countries, including Russia and
the United States.
Hier says he believes Russia's archives could shed particularly
valuable light on the transfer of Nazi assets to Switzerland and
other neutral countries during World War 2. He is appealing to
Russian President Yeltsin to open the archives.
As the conference was ending, the Swiss government announced its
national bank would contribute 100 million Swiss francs to a fund
set up to compensate victims of the Holocaust. The money will boost
the fund, which was established by Switzerland's three largest
banks, to 270 million Swiss francs. Swiss banks also say they'll
publish worldwide the names of unclaimed Holocaust era-accounts.
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